|A shocking new survey has revealed that, despite millions of pounds being spent on Government initiatives to reduce childhood obesity, levels are rising at an alarming rate.|
The figures, collected from the National Child Measurement Programme, measured a total of one million children, once when they started primary school aged four, and again when they left primary school at 11.
It showed a quarter are already overweight or obese when they start school at the age of four, and by the time they leave primary school at the age of 11, more than one in three (33.3 per cent compared to 31.7 per cent in 2006-7) will be too fat and at serious risk of long-term health problems.
The figures show that weight problems are more prominent among young boys than girls. Up to 20.4 per cent of 11-year-old boys leaving primary school are obese, compared with 18.7 per cent of girls.
Doctors have warned that they are seeing teenagers as young as 15 with early signs of heart disease caused by high-fat diets and a lack of exercise.
Experts say the obesity figures prove ministers' initiatives to promote healthy school meals and physical education have failed. The Government's much-heralded Change4Life drive to encourage children to have better diets and take more exercise has cost £75million in the last two years alone.
Rates of childhood obesity were also found to vary across the country. In the South West, the figure was 16.1 per cent for those in the last year of primary school, but in London it rose to 21.8 per cent.
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